I Don’t Need to Understand

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I heard the news about Orlando in bits and pieces yesterday morning. A headline on Facebook. A talking head on the television. A conversation at brunch.

But I didn’t understand.

Maybe it was a self-protection mechanism. I was in DC for a conference — flying home that afternoon — and perhaps my emotional reserves can only be tested so much. Maybe my intuitive subconscious knew that I needed to wait to absorb it. Maybe it was the sheer incomprehensibility of it.

But as soon as the plane touched down, the news settled in. Tears filled my eyes as I walked through the terminal, they pooled while I waited for my husband and sons to pick me up, and they fell as we drove home.

I don’t understand. I just don’t f*cking understand.

I don’t understand how people can be filled with such hate. I don’t understand how people can use this as vehicle to spread homophobic and islamophobic rhetoric. I don’t understand how we can be complacent. I don’t understand how we as a nation — hell, as HUMANS — can’t demand change. I don’t understand why people don’t listen when we say ENOUGH.

I don’t understand. I just don’t f*cking understand.

But you know what?

I don’t need to understand. I don’t need to understand to be angry and sad and fed up. I don’t need to understand to know that something has to be done. I don’t need to understand to do something to say something, to advocate for the LGBT community, to reach out to my Muslim brothers and sisters who face senseless and hurtful backlash.

I don’t need to understand because I know this much is true.

I know that I don’t want my kids growing up in a world where they need to worry about being killed because they went dancing or loved a man or went out to dinner. I know that I don’t want to live in a world where people need to be afraid to live their lives, and I sure as hell don’t want my kids to either.

I know that the second amendment doesn’t grant a right to assault weapons. I know that we can argue until the end of time and meanwhile people are dying.

I know that silence has become dangerous and even deadly.

I know that because of our silence and failure to demand gun control legislation, 50 people are dead. People who — just like you and me — lived and loved, who got up in the morning and went to work, people who had spouses and mothers and children, people who had dreams and fears, people who were awake in the middle of the night worrying about bills and jobs and relationships. People who — like all of us — simply wanted to live and love and pack as much joy as possible into our short time on earth.

So no, I don’t understand hate.

But I I don’t need to understand to know that hate does not define us. To know that we are mortal but we are strong. To know that there are more people who love than people who hate, more people who help than people who hurt.

I know that the world is a crazy, f*cked up place. I might not understand, but I know this.

But I also know that I don’t need to understand to do something, to help, to make the world a little safer and a little brighter.

I don’t need to understand to say ENOUGH.

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If you’re wondering how to help, here are some resources:

Sign a petition

Contact your legislators

Other ways to help

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